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Proteins are essential food types that are used in building muscles. They are also used for metabolism in cells, the production of enzymes, hormones, immune cells and antibodies, and other compounds that provide all the essential functions of the body.
You should include some proteins, even in the leanest diet. The question is whether it is enough for health, good physical shape, and quality work of all systems and organs.
Health Benefits of Protein
If your health is expensive and you want to keep fit, you should be concerned about the amount of protein in your diet. Here are some reasons to check if you consume enough.
1. Weight Balance
Protein helps keep your weight normal. A high protein diet helps increase metabolism and reduce hunger. Besides, protein saves you from gaining weight after finishing a diet. High protein intake sustains weight maintenance after body weight loss in humans.
2. Enhance bone health
Protein is good for bone health. Research Dietary protein and skeletal health: a review of recent human research confirmed that protein obtained from food helps retain calcium in bones, which has a beneficial effect on their strength and health.
3. Protein lowers blood pressure.
A study called Dietary protein and blood pressure: a systematic review revealed that protein, especially of plant origin, has a beneficial effect on blood pressure.
Protein helps to keep fit, good for bone health, and pressure. It also helps repair damaged tissue and is needed to build muscle and increase strength.
However, it is difficult to say exactly how much protein you need to consume in order to get all these benefits. It all depends on your weight, level of physical activity, and goals.
How much protein should be you consume per day to build muscle
The recommended standards are approved by Rospotrebnadzor in “Methodological Recommendations 18.104.22.1682-08 “.
This document states that the physiological need for protein for an adult population is from 65 to 117 grams per day for men and from 58 to 87 grams per day for women.
Given that the average weight of a woman ranges from 60 to 70 kilograms, and men – from 70 to 90 kilograms, it is recommended to consume more protein – about 1.2-1.5 grams per kilogram of weight.
Studies also recommend 1.4–1.8 grams for those involved in strength training, and 1.2–1.4 grams for endurance sports.
It is not surprising that in different countries, protein norms differ, but one universal value does not exist even within the same country. In the USA, in 2015, the “Protein Summit” was held, where more than 40 scientists discussed the effect of protein on human muscle.
Based on all the studies presented at the summit, Nancy Rodriguez, a nutritionist, and professor at the University of Connecticut concluded that it was safe and even beneficial to double the protein levels indicated in the US dietary supplement.
At the summit, it was decided that 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day should be considered the norm.
What do “official recommendations,” say?
The recommendations of the Department of Health and Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences suggest that the average adult should receive about 0.8 g / kg of protein per day.
However, this is only the recommended amount of protein, which will be enough for the average person, provided that this average person does not play sports and consumes the required number of calories per day.
Most of us are likely to get this amount of protein with food, but a number of studies published today suggest that adults need more protein in their daily diets for muscle building.
The authors of a recently published review in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism say that the optimal amount of protein per day for an adult is 1.2–1.6 g / kg.
It doesn’t matter if you decide to lose, maintain weight or gain muscle mass – a greater amount of protein than previously recommended will benefit you.”
In other words, it is recommended to consume exactly twice as much protein, and if you have no kidney problems, then such an amount will not harm you unless your wallet will feel the difference.
If you exercise, you need more protein.
When you systematically exercise, your need for protein rises. In order to become stronger, to enable muscles to recover effectively, it is necessary to provide them with a sufficient amount of building material – protein.
To reduce body weight, you need to consume much more protein than when gaining muscle mass.
How much protein do athletes need? The answer to this question is given by the authors of a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine:
- if you are engaged in power sports, then 1.4–1.8 g / kg per day
- if you are fond of running or other endurance sports, then 1.2–1.4 g / kg per day.
The recommendations are consistent with the values published in the practice guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine. The International Society of Sports Nutrition in its journal published an article in which it proposes to consume 1.4–2.0 g / kg per day of protein for most people who are actively involved in sports.
Moreover, the authors of this article say that the daily protein norm can be increased to 2.3–3.1 g / kg per day during the low-calorie period, and an increase in the daily amount of protein above 3 g / kg per day can contribute to a decreased body weight!
Does a large amount of protein help reduce weight and increase muscle?
Yes, no matter how strange it may seem, to reduce body weight, you need to consume much more protein than when gaining muscle mass.
When you lose weight, it leads to the rapid destruction of tissues – including muscle – and for the effective restoration of muscle tissue, you need protein. How much is “more protein than mass gain”? The following is an approximate quantity:
- you are not a sports person, or your goal is to reduce fat mass and maintain lean body mass: your “protein” goal is 1.0–1.5 g / kg per day
- you are a sportsperson. And your current goal is to reduce fat mass and maintain lean body mass: your “protein” goal is 1.5–2.7 g / kg per day.
The above figures are from work published in the European Journal of Sport Science. The smaller the percentage of fat in your body, the more benefit you will get from extra protein, according to the authors.
Here, however, there is one important detail: if you are overweight and you calculate the need for protein based on real body weight, you will get much more protein than recommended.
In order not to cross the border of reasonable protein intake, it is necessary to calculate the need for a relatively ideal (or less) body weight.
The benefits of consuming large amounts of protein during weight loss are obvious: protein-rich foods help you get saturated faster than foods that are high in carbohydrates or fats and also contribute to better appetite control.
In the end, the number of calories is an important factor to consider when losing weight, and high-protein food makes you full and satisfied – you stop running after another cookie or candy.
Another thing to consider if you want to have an athletic physique is to improve results when combining a high-protein diet and working with weights.
A recent review in the Journal of Sports Science showed that weight lifting gives your muscles a much more powerful signal for growth than an isolated intake of large amounts of protein.
If you want to gain muscle mass, you need less protein than it seems.
In general, protein intake in an amount of 0.8–1.2 g / kg per day, plus weight training, plus an adequate amount of calories to maintain (or gain) mass, is the recipe for building muscle you need.
Why do we need such a seemingly not very large amount of protein per day for muscle gain? The fact is that most visitors to gyms do not receive any additional benefits when consuming more than 1.7 g / kg of protein per day.
Moreover, this amount may even decrease with the accumulation of experience, since with regular lifting weights the body reacts more adequately, and there is no destruction of such a large number of muscles as at the beginning of classes.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, in which 12 novice bodybuilders participated, evaluated the 4-week effect of consuming 2.6 or 1.35 g / kg of protein per day.
Researchers did not find differences in strength or muscle gain between the two groups.
However, it must be remembered that such studies evaluate the short-term effect, while the long-term effect is studied much less often.
Here’s the rule for you: use enough protein, but remember that “the more you eat, the better” does not work: you are more likely to gain additional unnecessary calories. Remember about nutritional balance.
So do you need protein shakes? That depends. If you are eating foods like eggs, lean chicken breasts, and beef, you will be getting your daily dose of protein.
However, it is more inconvenient because you will have to prepare your meals, count your macros, etc. Whereas with a protein shake, it will take less than ten minutes to shake one up and guzzle it.
You will know exactly the amount of protein you are getting. In most cases, it will be somewhere between 20 and 25 grams.
A high protein diet will also boost your metabolic rate, and there are fat-burning benefits. How much protein you consume will depend on the demands you place on your body.
Whatever the case, you must be consuming your protein in adequate amounts and throughout the day.
Unlike carbs which most bodybuilders consume early on in the day, protein needs to be spaced out throughout the day so that your body is constantly using it as fuel.
Whey protein is the most popular form of protein because of its rapid rate of absorption by the body. Whey Isolate is even better since it is the purest form of whey protein.
Supplement stores will also have egg protein, casein, etc. You will need to decide for yourself which will suit your needs. Whey protein can be a little costly.
Do not buy the cheapest protein that you can find. You will most probably be getting an inferior protein powder that is full of filler material.
Get the slightly more expensive protein supplements and check the label to see exactly how many grams of protein per scoop you’re getting.
The key point to note is that if you plan on building your body, you absolutely must get sufficient high-quality protein and feed it to your body throughout the day.
In a nutshell, recommendations on the optimal amount of daily protein are mixed. To maintain sufficient flexibility in your diet, try consuming from 0.8 to 1.8 g / kg of protein per day, based on your goals: building muscles, reducing fat percentage, maintaining lean body mass.
Besides, it is important to consider your training load, training conditions, eating habits, food availability, and several other factors. Perhaps you need extra protein to feel full or, conversely, you need to reduce protein intake and calories in general.